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City Council Creates Task Force to Study Impact of Public Utility Work on City Roads and Sidewalks

Tonight Council President David A. Salvatore, Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci, Jr., Deputy Majority Leader Wilbur W. Jennings Jr., and Councilman Michael Correia introduced a resolution creating a task force to study the impact of public utility work on Providence’s roads and sidewalks.

“It is the responsibility of the City to ensure the maintenance of safe and aesthetically pleasing roadways and sidewalks,” stated City Council President David A. Salvatore. “Occasionally we hear from constituents that the sidewalks and roadways around their homes have not been properly restored after work done by a public utility. This task force will come together to study, review, and make recommendations for improving the laws, policies, and procedures affecting the impact of public utility work on our roads and sidewalks to ensure that public utilities leave these areas in good order.”

 According to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, 54% of Rhode Island’s public roads were rated as in “poor condition,” and Rhode Island’s drivers face costs of more than $800 per year from driving on roads in need of repair. Improved notification, coordination, and oversight procedures for street and sidewalk excavation by public utilities would lead to significant cost savings for taxpayers and utility companies, as well as greater convenience for residents.

 “As a long-serving member of the Council I have always been committed to quality of life issues,” stated Senior Deputy Majority Leader Nicholas J. Narducci. “The state of our roadways and walkways can affect our property values and cause harm to both property and pedestrians alike. I’m very proud to support this effort to ensure these issues do not occur or are mitigated quickly.”

 The issues surrounding the opening and excavation of streets and sidewalks are governed by both City ordinances and State statutes; are affected by the decisions of both public and private entities; and impact all who live, work, and visit Providence. Because the issue of street and sidewalk safety is of such great importance, the City Council will engage a broad group of stakeholders to adequately address these problems. And, as public servants and elected representatives of the people of Providence, the City Council has an obligation to ensure that roads and sidewalks are maintained in appropriate condition.

Deputy Majority Leader Wilbur J. Jennings shared, “Bringing together the key players will go a long way in achieving the goal set by the Council to ensure that all infrastructure work is completed timely and safely, and that any potential issues are dealt with quickly.”

The Task Force on the Impact of Public Utility Work on Providence’s Roads and Sidewalks will be comprised of:

Michael Borg, Director of the Department of Public Works (or designee)

Kevin Kugel, Director of the Providence Emergency Management Agency (or designee)

Scott Wolf, Executive Director of Grow Smart RI (or designee)

Two individuals appointed by Providence City Council President David A. Salvatore

Two individuals appointed by the Honorable Jorge Elorza, Mayor of Providence

A representative from National Grid

“The members of this task force will play an important role in helping create future protocols to protect the City and property owners,” stated Councilman Michael Correia. “Working with our utility partners to help form these protocols will ensure that all interests can be addressed. I look forward to seeing the good work this task force will accomplish.”